Cal State Fullerton, despite its recently constructed dorms, is still primarily a commuter campus.
With gas prices and congestion still as stubborn as ever, students from afar fret for a safe and thrifty road to education.
Kimberly Karn, 23, a marketing major, lives in San Juan Capistrano, which is roughly 40 miles from the main campus.
During her tenure at CSUF, she typically has driven to and from school three times a week.
“I probably had to get gas twice a week, fill up all the way completely, so a hundred dollars a week,” said Karn.
“I had to factor in my school time and my commute time so I had to cut my work schedule down to 24 hours a week,” Karn said.
Living closer to school would give her more motivation to return, Karn said.
“I would love to live closer to school,” Karn said.
Nicholas Fabrizio, 23, an accounting major, splits his time between living in Dana Point and Los Angeles.
Unlike Karn, Fabrizio has a long history with commuting.
“I’ve been commuting for five years between San Clemente and downtown Los Angeles, so commuting is nothing new for me. It’s just kind of a drag sometimes. I wish I was closer,” said Fabrizio.
His experience with commuting, as well as driving a gas-guzzling V8 Explorer, does little to help his travel expenses.
“Just school, currently, costs me seventy five dollars (in gas), but now I have to start commuting to Fullerton four times a week so that will double,” Fabrizio said.
One hidden expense for the commuting student is food, which is especially tempting for those that have long gaps between classes.
Even something as simple as finding a place to rest during all of that down time can be difficult.
“On days like Monday and Wednesday, I have a six-hour gap in between classes. When I am stuck out here I can’t really go anywhere, and that’s kind of stressful because it would just be nice to be able to rest somewhere,” Fabrizio said. “But you find that’s difficult to do when you don’t live close by. And I have to spend more money on eating out because it’s hard to bring a whole day’s worth of food with you to school, so that also adds to the expense of commuting to school.”
Fabrizio said he hopes to move closer to school soon.
This might be difficult, he said, with the combined cost of tuition, commuting and decreased work hours putting a dent in his funds.
“I’ve been looking around for apartments here, but I need to get out of debt first,” Fabrizio said.
Jennifer Flores, 29, a business major, gets off easier, as she drives a Honda Civic and only has to spend an average of twenty dollars for gas per week going to and from Corona.
This doesn’t keep her from playing it safe during her travels in the morning, as she leaves early for class just in case something comes up.
“I have an 8:30 a.m. class and I have to leave at 6:50 to get here and give myself fifteen minutes just in case there is an accident or the parking structure is full or whatnot,” said Flores.
Even though Flores lives closer than Fabrizio or Karn, just like them, she said she still yearns to live closer to campus and the gateway it provides for a potentially brighter future that not even gas prices can dry up.